A Barnstaple gym has been forced to close its doors in the wake of two national companies moving into town.

Inspiration Fitness, which is based in Roundswell, will close on December 14.

The family-run gym was set up in 2011 and has been run by husband and wife Jon and Vickie Price for the last three years, aiming to serve parts of the community which would not normally benefit from the use of a gym.

But two months after PureGym moved into Anchorwood Bank with cut-price memberships in October, Jon admitted the market had 'devalued'.

And with the extra competition on top of business rates, rent and utilities, the pair have been forced to close.

"Unfortunately out of all the independent businesses I am the first to go," said Jon.

"It's a lifestyle job and it became something horrendous, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"People say Barnstaple is struggling and it needs money put into the economy, but they need to start supporting local interests. These big companies only take the money back out of North Devon.

"It was the council that allowed [PureGym] in when those units were for food outlets. They had to change the use, which I know a lot of people petitioned against, and I think the council was wrong in doing that."

He continued: "The unfortunate thing is we work with groups with special needs, stroke victims, over 60s, all these healthy lifestyle packages and they are the ones who are going to miss out and are not going to be provided for, which is a real shame for the community."

PureGym opened less than 12 months after another national chain, Anytime Fitness moved into Barnstaple High Street.

Jon, who has worked in the fitness industry for 25 years, said while a lot of businesses would shut straight away, they wanted to do things 'honestly' at Inspiration Fitness.

He said: "I wanted to do it the right way. My priority was getting staff paid, letting the members know, stopping direct debits and making sure no one is out of the picture and to close as responsibly and as honestly as we could.

"Our landlord has been great, and really good at facilitating this process."